Word out of Indianapolis suggests the Denver Broncos plan to make a splash free agent signing to boost their pass rush this year, and Von Miller is unlikely to return. The good news is this class looks like it will be quite strong at edge rusher.
One option who could make a ton of sense regardless of the Broncos’ plans at quarterback is the Carolina Panthers Haason Reddick.
Weight: 230 pounds
Age: 27 years old
Experience: 5 seasons
Why it makes sense
The Broncos sorely need an edge rusher who is good enough to be a difference maker in 2022 and young enough to remain a core member on defense going forward. Von Miller finished fourth on the Broncos in pressures despite playing in just seven games in 2021, and the pass rush cratered without him. After he was traded to the Los Angeles Rams the Broncos were extremely dependent on Vic Fangio’s scheme to generate pressure.
Additionally, Bradley Chubb’s been on Injured Reserve during three of his four seasons in the NFL with lower body injuries. Malik Reed is a Restricted Free Agent after his least productive season in the league. There is distinct possibility Chubb and Reed aren’t members of the Broncos after the 2022 season.
Reddick’s one of the more intriguing option’s in this edge class because he’s young, productive, and durable. He missed the first game of his career last season because of Covid-19 and has played 600+ snaps four consecutive times in his career. According to Sports Info Solutions’ charting Reddick’s notched 92 pressures and 23.5 sacks over the last two seasons. He’s at his best rushing from outside the tackle and has the twitch, burst, and hands to wreck havoc from wide alignments. The league does not seem to value him like the Jadeveon Clowney’s of this class and that could be to the Broncos’ benefit. Where Clowney looks like he’d be miscast in the Broncos’ defense, Reddick seems to be an ideal fit.
Why it doesn’t make sense
After selecting him 13th overall in the 2017 draft, the Arizona Cardinals declined his fifth year option prior to the 2020 season. Following a breakout campaign in lieu of Chandler Jones’ season ending injury, Reddick spent last season with the Carolina Panthers on a one year incentive laden contract that could be worth up to $8 million. Following two productive “prove it” seasons, I believe Reddick’s probably looking to sign with the highest bidder.
Reddick’s not a fit for everyone because he’s about the same size as Malik Reed and Andre Mintze. He’s at his best in an aggressive defense that will use scheme to create one-on-one rushes for him, as he’s a strong finisher who has little trouble cleaning up in space. The Cardinals actually played him as an off ball linebacker for the first three years of his career. This is a big reason why he only has seven and a half sacks before 2020, and plays a factor in his tepid market compared to his recent production.
I’m on record saying I much prefer Von Miller to any other alternative in this veteran market and stand by it. With that said, Reddick makes more sense than Clowney and offers more upside than Justin Houston and Melvin Ingram. He looks like a better scheme fit than Emmanuel Ogbah, and he won’t cost as much as Von or Jones.
Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger predicts Reddick’s next deal will be something like three years for $35 million, with about $18 million guaranteed. A contract like that actually breaks down to look like a two year commitment with what is essentially a team option for the last year, and follows a similar blueprint to what George Paton agreed to with Ronald Darby and Shelby Harris last offseason.
The Broncos could do a lot worse.
Should the Broncos pursue Haason Reddick in free agency?
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